Imijondolo

Published in 1985, Imijondolo, (the isi Zulu word for a shack or informal housing), is Omar Badsha's second book of photographs. Badsha's groundbreaking book documents how radically different life in the settlement was, despite being located just thirty kilometres northwest of Durban. The intimate nature of Badsha's photographs is a direct result of Badsha's sustained presence in the settlement, as a political activist and community organizer between 1980 and 1984. Both Desmond Tutu's (then Bishop of Johannesburg) foreword, as well as Heather Hughes introduction, in Imijondolo, complement the images, which addresses the contemporary local history of the Inanda. By 1985, when Imijondolo was published, Inanda had a population of over a quarter of a million people, all surviving without basic water or sewage services. In these photos, Badsha investigates not only Inanda's catastrophic drought of 1979 that caused deadly outbreaks of typhoid and cholera, but also pensioners struggling to make ends meet, religious practices in the adjoining Shembe Village and even images from Phoenix, the settlement founded by Gandhi at the turn of the century. The book depicts residents of Inanda at work and at play, in religious worship and in mourning. Imijondolo, in its own, stark way, tells the story of the residents of Inanda, who, despite living in appalling conditions, lived their lives with dignity.

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